Sharon's story: getting the right support for my son
When my eight-year-old son was offered Prozac by a psychiatrist to help him deal with his anxieties, I was shocked and saddened.
On so many levels this was not an appropriate line of treatment for our son, not least because of his age. For me this felt like a pivotal moment as I realised the importance and urgency of providing earlier mental health intervention and prevention.
From personal experience of speaking to teachers and school nurses, the lack of confidence in schools on how best to manage issues around mental health is very apparent. There is also uncertainty around how to provide staff with the awareness and skills they need on the frontline, not to mention the resources.
Lobbying for mental health to be prioritised
I have been trying, at a local level, to get this agenda prioritised within our schools and have been so grateful for the support from the Mental Health Foundation and that of my local MSP Alexander Burnett.
However, much more pressure is needed to be put on the government and local authorities. For this reason, I strongly back the ‘Make it Count' campaign as I believe with the right early intervention and support, my son and the thousands of children like him in Scotland can be supported much better with their mental health.
Sign the petition!
We're calling for schools to put mental health at the heart of what children learn in schools, because mental health is not extracurricular.
Normalising our conversations around mental health is vital if we are to reduce the stigma that many children and young people experience and ensure we get them the help they need when they need it.
Our schools need to be so much more than places of academic achievements. Our children and young people need to be mentally healthy if they are to be successful learners. However, for schools to be able to provide the right support for our children and young people the priorities on training and resources for mental health must be urgently addressed.
As a parent, I want my voice to be heard, not just for my son, but for all our children and young people. We all have mental health, and the emotional wellbeing of our children and families is paramount.
I want to make a difference in any way I can to ensure the mental wellbeing of our children and young people is a real priority within our schools and not rhetoric.
I urge people to please get behind this campaign. We owe it our children and young people to get this right.
We need your help
As Sharon says, we owe it to our children and young people to get this right. With your help, we can get it right. Generous donations from the public make a huge difference and allow us to run campaigns like Make it Count. Please consider a donation today.